Yvonne Estrada

(Born 1960 in Bogota, Colombia; Lives and works in New York)

I took a job as a model in life drawing classes. I think I am a better draftsman because of being a life model (even though I’m not a figurative artist). Artists (students) who do life drawing should stand on a platform and hold a pose. This job taught me about meditation and yoga as well.
I think most of my work is informed by sculpture. I had a teacher who always saw sculpture in my drawings. I was enamored by stone carving so I went and studied stone carving for four years. I got a one year grant to travel through Europe and worked at a stone carving studio in Pietra Santa Italy. I love sculpture. In all of my work there is a lot of volume.

When I look back at my work, there are things that I’m doing now I wasn’t aware of doing 20 years ago. I go back 30 yrs and that specific color blue was always there. It was indigo blue originally. Going back and forth informs the now. It is a gift. I’d be foolish not to look back.

I chose blue to be my black. I saw blue to be a constant color that everybody uses. It’s a unifier. When I started using ultramarine blue I was thinking of the powdery electrical blue of architectural drawings, a bit more purple. I made a conscious decision to go monochromatic when I started drawing at a larger scale. The intensity of the ultramarine blue happened through the process of working with it, as I go over and over the lines like making a tattoo over the skin. It came out of the process like all of my work.

When I go to my studio it’s not with the idea about making great art or having all this work to finish. I go in with the mind of a humble worker. My clothes are full of paint and holes, they are my favorite clothes and this is who I am. This is my most essential me. I came to this life to do this job. I like this idea of joining the whole like the farmer and the shoe maker, waking up to do their job. I feel very much at peace once I get into the work.

–Conversation on May 19, 2020

Listen to our conversation here:


Selected Image from the Collection:

Estrada, Yvonne, MD403-11 Blue, 2011, Gouache on Spanish handmade paper, Paper: 25 x 20 in.